Google Docs
Inserting Images

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Lesson 14: Inserting Images



Adding images to your document can make it more visually appealing. Google Docs uses Google Search to find and provide images for you to choose from, so it's likely you'll find one that matches your needs. If you have a picture of your own that you want to use, you can upload an image.

In this lesson, you'll learn how to upload, search for, and insert images. You'll also learn how to edit the size and position of an image.

Watch the video below to learn more about inserting images.

To upload an image:

  1. Place the insertion point in the document where you want to insert the image.
  2. Click Insert, then select Image.
    Clicking the Insert image button
  3. The Insert image dialog box will appear. Click Choose an image to upload or drag an image into the box.
    Clicking Choose an image to upload

Searching for images

When you search for an image in Google Docs, it's important to know that almost all of the images Google finds will belong to someone else. Google tries to filter the results to only show free Creative Commons images, but it is important to go to the source of an image to check the copyright license. For more information on how to use images found on the Internet, read our lesson on Copyright and Fair Use.

Options for searching

Google Docs offers three search options. The Google Search and Life photo archives options display search results with a source web address for each image. The third option displays stock images.

  • Google Search: Using the Google Search option, you can apply a filter and a color selection to narrow search results. Click to select an image, and the URL for the source of the image will appear beneath the search results. Click the URL to open the source and view the license information.
    Google image search results
  • Life photo archive: Life magazine has provided archived images dating from the 1790s to today. Click an image to select it, and the source URL is provided.
    Life photograph archive search results
  • Stock photography archive: Results from searching stock images show free high-quality photographs. No source URL is provided for stock images.
    Viewing results from a stock images search

To search for an image:

  1. Place the insertion point in the document where you want to insert the image.
  2. Click Insert, then select Image.
    Clicking the Insert image button
  3. The Insert image dialog box will appear. Click Search.
    Clicking Search
  4. A search pane will appear inside the dialog box. Select one of the three search options.
    The three search options
  5. Type the desired search term, then click the search button.
    Searching for an image
  6. Review the search results. Select the desired image, then click Select.
    Inserting an image into the document
  7. The image will appear in the document.

To delete an image, select it and press the Backspace or Delete key on your keyboard.

After completing a search, you can switch among the three search options to see additional images. Click the search option drop-down arrow to select a different search option.

Selecting a search option

Other options for inserting images

Google Docs offers several additional options for inserting images. If you have the URL of an image or collection of images stored in online albums or in your Google Drive, you can easily access and insert these pictures as well. Always remember to check the copyright license of an image before placing it in your document.

  • By URL: This option is useful if you have the URL of a particular image. When the URL is entered correctly in the Paste an image URL here: field, a preview of the image will appear. Click Select to insert the image into your document.
    A correctly entered image URL
  • Your albums: Selecting Your albums gives you access to your Google account profile images. If you use Google Photos to organize your photos, any albums you have created there will also be visible in the dialog box. Click an album to open it and select an image.
    Viewing available albums
  • Google Drive: If you have images stored in your Google Drive account, clicking Google Drive will give you access to these images. You have the option of sorting pictures to show all of the images in your Google Drive, only those shared with you, or only your most recently uploaded images.
    Accessing images in My Drive

Editing images

Sometimes when you insert an image or a picture from a file, you may find that you will need to change the position of the image or resize it to make it look well placed in your document.

To edit the position of an image:

You may notice that it is difficult to change the position of the image to another location in the document. This is because of the text-wrapping settings on the image. You'll need to change the text-wrapping setting if you want to move the image freely, or if you just want the text to wrap around the image in a more natural way. The positioning options are:

  • In line: This option aligns the image with the text. The image will move with the text if additional text is added or deleted. However, this option gives you less freedom to move the image where you want.
  • Wrap text: This option causes the text to wrap around the image. Use this option if you want to move the image to another location in the document.
  • Break text: This option is like text wrapping, but the image will act as a break—meaning text will only appear above and below the image, not to the left or right.
  1. Select the image you want to change the position of. The three positioning options appear below the image.
    Options for changing an image's position
  2. Select Wrap text. Hover the mouse over the image, and the cursor will change into directional arrows. Click and drag the image to the desired location.
    Editing the position of an image
  3. Release the mouse, and the image will move to the selected position. The text wraps around the image.
    Viewing the repositioned image

To edit the size of an image:

  1. Select the image you want to resize. Resizing handles appear around the image.
    An image's resizing handles
  2. Click and drag one of the corner sizing handles. The image will change size while keeping the same proportions. If you want to stretch it horizontally or vertically, you can use the side sizing handles.
    Scaling down an image


  1. Open our example file. Make sure you're signed in to Google, then click File > Make a copy.
  2. Delete the picture of the grill on the right side of the page.
  3. Insert another image by searching the word fireworks in the stock image search. Choose a firework picture you like.
  4. Change the image's alignment to wrap text.
  5. Drag the picture to the right side of the document and resize the image to fit on the page next to the text.
  6. When you're finished, your document should look something like this:
    Images Challenge Example